A safety talk is a practical way of reminding employees that safety is an important part of their job. While they do not serve as a substitute for formal training, safety talks go over specific issues on the worksite. These meetings can be a venue for employees to be reminded of the safety and health requirements for equipment, tools, and materials they use daily or for a specific task. A safety talk lasts only about five to ten minutes.
Reasons for Giving a Safety Talk
A safety talk can help employees identify and control the hazards they face in the workplace. It illustrates the commitment of employers and employees to safety and health. Managers or safety trainers conduct safety trainings because it is their responsibility to inform the employees about the potential hazards to both safety and health.
Effective Safety Talk
The topics for safety talks must be something related to the tasks of the employees. For instance, the right time to conduct a meeting on temporary heating is before the start of the cold season. The talk must be conducted where it would be really appropriate. It could be at the worksite, or close to the equipment and tools being discussed. The topic must be clear and the safety leader should tell the employees exactly what the talk is about and why it is important to them.
The safety trainer can refer to the safety guidelines, but the talk must be in his own words. He must be able to connect the main points of the topic, which the employees should be familiar with.
Topics for a Safety Talk
Workplace accidents can cause absenteeism, employee compensation claims, and can lessen their morale. Here are some of the topics that can be discussed during a safety talk:
1. Equipment Safety
Machineries, tools, and equipment can be safety hazards. Safety talks must be focused on equipment used by the employees and explain their potential hazards. To avoid accidents, equipment safety procedures must be followed at all times. This includes implementing equipment safety training, using fail-safe devices, and installing guards.
2. Safety Procedures and Equipment
Safety meetings, particularly in hazardous tasks, can avoid accidents. Companies have to provide safety items such as eyeglasses, respirators, hard hats, life jackets, earplugs, and other forms of physical protection. First aid kits and fire extinguishers must also be available to lessen injuries during an emergency. Contagious disease prevention, safe entrance and exit, and fall protection are some of an employer’s responsibilities. There should also be information about workplace hazards through chemical information sheets, labels, alarms, and color-coded systems.
3. Hazardous Material Safety
Many industries operate using several hazardous materials such as ammonia, hydrogen, and acetylene, combustible and flammable liquids, and explosives. Safety meetings must discuss the hazardous materials available in the workplace. Safety procedures and safety equipment must be used to keep away employees from being exposed to dangerous materials.
4. Violence Prevention
Safety talks are also a venue for the company to discuss how they can prevent violence in the workplace. Violence prevention is especially important in industries such as social services and health care, which have higher chances of work-related violence. Employers must implement violence prevention trainings and should have a record of every violent incident. Police and security guards might be necessary for these industries.
5. Employee Morale
Accidents in the workplace have a negative impact on the morale of the employees. When an employee gets injured, his colleagues, supervisors, and friends end up disheartened and worried. Employees might also feel scared. These kinds of emotions can damage the employee morale and must be discussed during safety talks and employee assistance programs.
Simply put, safety discussions are probably a lot more complicated than you think, but that complexity makes them even more interesting.
Effective safety talks and behaviors are spread through an organization through the building of good relationships and safety awareness.